May 27 I Wednesday
2 Chronicles 1-3
“...like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer”
—2 Timothy 2:3-4
What is the life of a soldier like? From the opening verse of this devotion, Paul uses the analogy of a soldier––a role that he is all too familiar with––to illustrate the Christian life. Being imprisoned in Rome, Paul spent a great deal of time observing the life of a Roman soldier. In fact, Rome was renowned for its military strength and its soldiers were disciplined, organized and well trained. They worked together as a team, which is why their empire extended so vastly.
We will find that the chain of command is essential to the effective functioning of any army. Even in our present-day military, soldiers learn in basic training the importance of obeying commands that are given. A friend, who went through basic training, told me that they were commanded to shave every morning but one individual thought that he could sleep a little more if he shaved the night before. The drill sergeant noticed and said, “Sir, did you shave this morning?” The individual answered, “No, I have not. I shaved last night.” As a result, the rest of the unit had to do push-ups while this man shaved his face without any shaving cream. This individual quickly learned that commands are not optional.
When a command is given, no soldier is going to say to his commanding officer, “You know what, Sergeant? I don’t feel like doing that today” or “You know what, Sir? I think you have lost it. Your commands are optional. I am not going to obey them.” If we did that as a Roman soldier, we could get thrown into prison or worse, killed for being defiant. This is important because when we are in a live combat operation or a war zone, we do not have time for a conference to discuss or debate things. We need to obey our commanding officer because they are more seasoned and matured; they have handled combat situations and will save our life if we listen to their commands. It is not a democracy in the military.
Have we ever thought of Jesus as our commanding officer? Oftentimes, we consider Jesus as our friend, our Saviour and the One who has grace for us, which are all true, but do we also realize that He is our commanding officer? When Jesus gives us a command, do we respond “Yes, Sir” or do we say, “You know what, Jesus? I am not feeling it.”
Like a soldier’s obedience to his commanding officer, we ought to heed to the teachings, instructions and counsel of Jesus, not only as we navigate through this world but as we seek to please Him.
Prayer: Jesus, You are the commanding officer of my life. For Your ways are higher than my ways and Your thoughts are not my thoughts. Tune my ear to hear Your voice and obey Your commands. Amen!